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Investments move to areas where talents are

Countries’ capability to produce highly-skilled workers leads to economic growth because investors are expanding to areas where there is a certain pool of talent that can match their requirements.

That is what has been happening in the Philippines, according to Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI). The Philippines is now the world’s leading outsourcing destination because of its highly-skilled English-speaking young population. Certain functions by multinational corporations are being serviced by Filipinos in the Philippines. Their clients’ questions and needs are resolved online from the Philippines. Investors are leveraging on these top caliber talents at cheaper rates than when these services are sourced onshore.

GTCI, which is an annual study released by INSEAD, the business school for the world, in partnership with the Adecco Group and the Human Capital Leadership Institute of Singapore (HCLI), measures the ability of countries to compete for talent. It ranks over 100 economies according to their ability to develop, attract and retain GTCI cited some countries including the Philippines for starting to attract the attention of international investors because of creative talent at reasonable cost.

Among these countries are China, South Korea, Philippines, and Vietnam in the Asia Pacific region; Malta, Slovenia, Cyprus and Moldova in the European region; Turkey, Jordan and Tunisia in the MENA region; and Panama in Central America.

The conventional way of thinking that people has to go abroad to look for jobs is changing as a new trend is somewhat changing the game where companies are expanding in an area to lure a certain pool of talent.

Based on this year’s GTCI, while it is important that governments encourage students to study abroad, jobs are now also moving to where the talent is.

While people continue to move to jobs and opportunities, jobs are now moving to where the talent is, according to GTCI.

Bruno Lanvin, executive director of global indices at INSEAD and the co-editor of the report, said one key recommendation from the report is that countries have to be more proficient at managing the emerging new dynamics of brain circulation. And this could involve sending people to study abroad.

“While the temporary economic mobility of highly-skilled people may initially be seen as a loss for their country of origin, countries have to understand that this translates into a net gain when they return home,” he said.

“Mobility has become a key ingredient of talent development. Creative talent cannot be fully developed if international mobility and ‘brain circulation’ are not encouraged,” the data said.

For his part, Adecco Group chief executive officer (CEO) Alain Dehaze said talent champion countries demonstrate that to attract talent, governments must invest in education and knowledge hubs, as well as reduce bureaucracy and simplify labor markets.

HCLI CEO Wong Su-Yen agreed to this, adding that the movement of talent across countries is underpinned by a complex set of economic, political, and social factors.

She also said countries must not fear talent mobility. Instead, they must think of innovations that could help it keep their own home-grown skilled workers or to make them go back at least.

“The formation of the ASEAN Economic Community [AEC] has demonstrated that countries that are traditionally known as talent magnets may lose their home grown talent to other emerging markets in the region. We have to be mindful that there is no permanence in a country’s talent competitiveness and fleet-footed talent often would seek out greener pastures and career opportunities regionally and globally,” Su-Yen said.

“The challenge, therefore, is for countries to continue to innovate in how they build, attract, and retain talent,” she added.

As one of the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools, INSEAD has campuses in Europe (France), Asia (Singapore), and Abu Dhabi, while the Adecco Group is based in Zurich, Switzerland and is a leading provider of HR solutions with more than 32,000 employees in 5,100 branches across 60 countries, and territories.

HCLI, on the other hand, is a strategic alliance between the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), and Singapore Management University.